Professor Alex Copello, AFINet

Alex Copello PhD

Professor of Addiction Research
School of Psychology, the University of Birmingham &
Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Addictions Programme,
Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust


I came to the UK from Argentina in 1977. I trained in Psychology in London, Clinical Psychology at the University of Surrey and later obtained my PhD from the University of Birmingham. I am currently Professor of Addiction Research, in the School of Psychology, at the University of Birmingham and Consultant Clinical Psychologist with the Addictions Programme, Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust where I am also Director for the Trust R&D addictions programme.

My career has combined clinical, academic and service management work in the addiction field. My research and clinical interests include the study of the impact of addiction upon families as well as the development and evaluation of family and social network based interventions. I have served in two UK National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guideline development groups and have been a member of the Executive Council of the Society for the Study of Addiction and the chair of the New Directions in the Study of Alcohol Group in the UK. 

I publish regularly in a number of scientific journals and have co-authored/edited the following books: Living with Drink: Women Who Live with Problem Drinkers (1998); Substance Misuse in Psychosis: Approaches to Treatment and Service Delivery (2002) [Awarded a High Commendation in the 2003 BMA Book competition]; Cognitive Behavioural Integrated Treatment (2004), Coping with Alcohol and Drug Problems (2005) and Social Behaviour and Network Therapy for Alcohol Problems (2009) [Awarded a High Commendation in the 2010 BMA Book competition].

International work:

I have been involved in a number of international collaborations involving research and clinical work, mainly with colleagues in Mexico City, Australia and New Zealand and Ireland and Malta.

Selected recent publications:

  • Copello, A. and Walsh, K. (in press) Families, friends and addiction: Impacts, psychological models and interventions. In Addiction Psychology and Treatment. Davis, P. and Patton. R. and Witton, J. (Eds), Wiley Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Copello, A. (2010) Commentary on Roozen et al. Involving families in addiction treatment – the way forward. Addiction, 105, 1739-1740.
  • Copello, A., Templeton, L. & Powell, J. (2010) The impact of addiction on the family: Estimates of prevalence and costs.  Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy; 17 (S1): 63-74.
  • Copello, A., Templeton, L., Orford, J. & Velleman, R. (2010)  The 5-Step Method: Principles and practice.  Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy; 17 (S1): 86-99.
  • Copello, A., Templeton, L., Orford, J. & Velleman, R. (2010)  The 5-Step Method: Evidence of gains for affected family members.  Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy; 17 (S1): 100-112.
  • Copello, A., Orford, J., Tober, G and Hodgson, R. (2009). Social Behaviour and Network Therapy for Alcohol Problems. London: Brunner Routledge.
  • Copello, A., Templeton, L., Velleman, R., Orford, J., Patel, A., Moore, L. and Godfrey, C. (2009). The relative efficacy of two primary care brief interventions for family members affected by the addictive problem of a close relative: a randomised trial, Addiction, 104, 49-58.
  • Day, E.  Copello, A.  Karia, M.  Roche, J.  Grewal, P.  George, S.  Haque, S.  Chohan, G. (2013) Social Network Support for Individuals Receiving Opiate Substitution Treatment and Its Association with Treatment Progress. Eur Addict Res; 19: 211–221.
  • Day, E., Copello, A., Seddon, J., Christie, M., Bamber, D., Powell, C., George, S., Ball, A., Frew, E., and Freemantle, N. (2013) Pilot study of a social network intervention for heroin users in opiate substitution treatment: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials 2013, 14:264. DOI:10.1186/1745-6215-14-264
  • Forrester, D., Holland, S., Williams, A. and Copello, A (in press) Helping families where parents misuse drugs or alcohol? A mixed methods comparative evaluation of an intensive family preservation service. Child and Family Social Work. Online version:
  • Gilburt, H., Burns, T., Copello, A., et al (2012) Assertive Community Treatment for alcohol dependence (ACTAD): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials. 2012; 13: 19. (DOI: 10.1186/1745-6215-13-19).
  • Holland, S., Forrester, D., Williams, A. and Copello, A. (2013) Parenting and Substance Misuse: Understanding Accounts and Realities in Child Protection Contexts. British Journal of Social Work, 1–17.
  • Lee, C., Christie, M., Copello, A. and Kellet, S. (2012) Barriers and enablers to implementation of family-based work in alcohol services: A qualitative study of alcohol worker perceptions. Drugs, Education, Prevention and Policy. 19 (3); 244-252.

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Technical problems with membership applications

We have just discovered that the AFINet Membership application form has not been working for the last 6 months, due to a technical error. While it has been fixed now, all applications since May have been lost (we had assumed that the lack of applications was due to Covid!).

We are very sorry for this. If you have applied for membership and have not received a response, we would kindly ask you to re-complete and re-submit the form (to be found here: If you know of any colleagues or friends who have tried to join AFINet over this period, it would be very helpful if you could forward this information to them, and encourage them to re-apply.

The AFINet Trustees